Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

DUNKEL INDEX

NBA

Indiana at Memphis
The Pacers look to build on their 11-5 ATS record in their last 16 Monday games. Indiana is the pick (+6 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Grizzlies favored by only 2. Dunkel Pick: Indiana (+6 1/2)

Game 701-702: Indiana at Memphis (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Indiana 119.247; Memphis 121.272
Dunkel Line & Total: Memphis by 2; 177
Vegas Line & Total: Memphis by 6 1/2; 172 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Indiana (+6 1/2); Over

Game 703-704: Sacramento at New Orleans (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Sacramento 110.304; New Orleans 122.943
Dunkel Line & Total: New Orleans by 12 1/2; 187
Vegas Line & Total: New Orleans by 6 1/2; 191 1/2
Dunkel Pick: New Orleans (-6 1/2); Under

Game 705-706: Houston at Charlotte (2:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Houston 117.609; Charlotte 108.423
Dunkel Line & Total: Houston by 9; 202
Vegas Line & Total: Houston by 6 1/2; 206 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Houston (-6 1/2); Under

Game 707-708: Minnesota at Atlanta (2:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Minnesota 114.608; Atlanta 118.327
Dunkel Line & Total: Atlanta by 3 1/2; 189
Vegas Line & Total: Atlanta by 8; 185 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+8); Over

Game 709-710: Brooklyn at New York (3:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Brooklyn 118.910; New York 120.135
Dunkel Line & Total: New York by 1; 197
Vegas Line & Total: New York by 4; 193 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Brooklyn (+4); Over

Game 711-712: LA Clippers at Golden State (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Clippers 125.027; Golden State 116.860
Dunkel Line & Total: LA Clippers by 8; 188
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 713-714: San Antonio at Philadelphia (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: San Antonio 124.413; Philadelphia 116.009
Dunkel Line & Total: San Antonio by 8 1/2; 190
Vegas Line & Total: San Antonio by 6 1/2; 194 1/2
Dunkel Pick: San Antonio (-6 1/2); Under

Game 715-716: LA Lakers at Chicago (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Lakers 119.887; Chicago 116.570
Dunkel Line & Total: LA Lakers by 3 1/2; 199
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

Game 717-718: Washington at Portland (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Washington 111.981; Portland 121.717
Dunkel Line & Total: Portland by 9 1/2; 192
Vegas Line & Total: No Line
Dunkel Pick: N/A

NHL

Florida at Ottawa
The Panthers look to build on their 7-0 record in their last 7 games versus Northeast Division opponents. Florida is the pick (+125) according to Dunkel, which has the Panthers favored by 1/2 a goal. Dunkel Pick: Florida (+125)

Game 1-2: Winnipeg at Boston (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Winnipeg 11.054; Boston 10.858
Dunkel Line & Total: Winnipeg by 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Boston (-200); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Winnipeg (+170); Under

Game 3-4: Tampa Bay at NY Islanders (1:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Tampa Bay 10.527; NY Islanders 11.683
Dunkel Line & Total: NY Islanders by 1; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Tampa Bay (-120); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: NY Islanders (+100); Over

Game 5-6: St. Louis at Nashville (6:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Louis 12.821; Nashville 12.040
Dunkel Line & Total: St. Louis by 1; 5 1/2
Vegas Line & Total: St. Louis (-115); 5
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-115); Over

Game 7-8: Buffalo at Toronto (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Buffalo 10.619; Toronto 11.853
Dunkel Line & Total: Toronto by 1; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Toronto (-120); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Toronto (-120); Under

Game 9-10: Florida at Ottawa (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida 11.697; Ottawa 11.263
Dunkel Line & Total: Florida by 1/2; 5
Vegas Line & Total: Ottawa (-145); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Florida (+125); Under

Game 11-12: Detroit at Columbus (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Detroit 10.313; Columbus 12.600
Dunkel Line & Total: Columbus by 2 1/2; 6
Vegas Line & Total: Detroit (-130); 5 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Columbus (+110); Over

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NCAAB

Wright State at Detroit
The Raiders look to take advantage of a Detroit team that is 3-12 ATS in its last 15 home games. Wright State is the pick (+10 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Titans favored by only 7 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Wright State (+10 1/2)

Game 719-720: Cincinnati at Syracuse (3:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cincinnati 68.208; Syracuse 74.457
Dunkel Line: Syracuse by 6 1/2; 136
Vegas Line: Syracuse by 9; 130
Dunkel Pick: Cincinnati (+9); Over

Game 721-722: Oklahoma State at Baylor (5:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oklahoma State 66.264; Baylor 73.253
Dunkel Line: Baylor by 7; 127
Vegas Line: Baylor by 3 1/2; 132 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Baylor (-3 1/2); Under

Game 723-724: Georgia State at Towson (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Georgia State 50.916; Towson 59.658
Dunkel Line: Towson by 8 1/2
Vegas Line: Towson by 6
Dunkel Pick: Towson (-6)

Game 725-726: Wright State at Detroit (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Wright State 56.336; Detroit 64.074
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 7 1/2
Vegas Line: Detroit by 10 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Wright State (+10 1/2)

Game 727-728: Georgetown at Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Georgetown 63.247; Notre Dame 65.456
Dunkel Line: Notre Dame by 2; 124
Vegas Line: Notre Dame by 6; 121 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Georgetown (+6); Over

Game 729-730: Texas at Oklahoma (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Texas 59.739; Oklahoma 69.485
Dunkel Line: Oklahoma by 9 1/2; 120
Vegas Line: Oklahoma by 7; 123 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma (-7); Under

Game 731-732: Loyola-MD at Fairfield (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Loyola-MD 54.609; Fairfield 61.447
Dunkel Line: Fairfield by 7
Vegas Line: Fairfield by 4 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Fairfield (-4 1/2)

Game 733-734: Southern Utah at Montana State (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Southern Utah 45.399; Montana State 47.388
Dunkel Line: Montana State by 2
Vegas Line: Montana State by 5
Dunkel Pick: Southern Utah (+5)

Game 741-742: Bethune-Cookman at Savannah State (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Bethune-Cookman 46.559; Savannah State 53.969
Dunkel Line: Savannah State by 7 1/2; 111
Vegas Line: Savannah State by 6; 115 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Savannah State (-6); Under

Game 743-744: Southern at Alabama A&M (9:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Southern 55.509; Alabama A&M 43.190
Dunkel Line: Southern by 12 1/2; 134
Vegas Line: Southern by 14 1/2; 129
Dunkel Pick: Alabama A&M (+14 1/2); Over

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

David Chan

Houston vs. Charlotte
Pick: Under

Houston is 21-21 SU and 21-20-1 ATS. The O/U is 24-18. It's coming off seven straight losses, including a 92-79 setback at Minnesota on the 19th, the total staying well below the posted number of 202 in that one. The Rockets are managing just 93.3 PPG during the slide. In the loss to the Wolves they committed 20 turnovers.

James Harden is hitting just 25% from the floor and scoring just 18.3 PPG, which is 7.5 less than his season average.

Charlotte is 10-30 SU and 15-24-1 ATS. The O/U is 20-19-1. It's coming off a 97-93 loss at Sacramento on the 19th, the total staying well below the posted number of 204 in that one.

The hapless Bobcats have lost three straight in this series, getting limited to just 82.7 YPG.

Note that four of these teams last five vs. each other have indeed gone "under" the posted number.

With both clubs struggling on the offensive end, and with each desperate to punch a "W" into the win column, I believe we'll see a much tighter affair than what the oddsmakers are leading us to believe; consider a second look at the "under" in this one!

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Jimmy Boyd

Baylor -4

I like Baylor to pull off the home win here over Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are just 16-30 ATS on the road against teams outscoring their opponents by 12+ ppg since 1997 and 5-15 ATS as a road underdog the last three years.

Oklahoma State is off an impressive 34 point win over Texas Tech, but that game was at home and the Red Raiders are not very good. The Cowboys have lost both their Big 12 road games, at Oklahoma by nine and at Kansas State by six. Now they take on a pretty good Baylor team that has a loss at Gonzaga and a loss at Kansas as the only real blips on the radar.

Baylor actually went on the road and beat the Cowboys last year, and when the two teams played at home last year the Bears won 106-65. I think they take care of business again this year and cover this small number.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Rob Vinciletti

Baylor -3½

Baylor won big here 106-65 last season against An Ok, St that plays much better at home than on the road. Baylor is 8-1 at home this season winning by an average 18 points per game. Ok. St is 0-5 straight up with 1 spread win as a road dog from +3.5 to +6 and 2-14 straight up while going 5-11 to the spreads off a conference win. When the total in their road games is 130 to 135 they are 0-6 with just 1 spread win. Baylor has played a tougher schedule and is the free play tonight. Weekend plays sweep going 11-0 the last 2 days.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Jack Jones

Oklahoma Sooners -7

The Oklahoma Sooners are one of the most underrated teams in the country. They are coming off a down 2011-12 campaign in Lon Kruger's first season on the job, but he is already working wonders in his second season with all five starters back.

The easiest way to tell that this team is underrated is by taking a look at their ATS record, which is 9-3 this season. The Sooners are also 12-4 SU in all games, including 6-1 SU & 4-0 ATS at home. They are outscoring opponents by an average of 15.0 points/game at home this year.

I look for Texas to suffer a hangover from its 59-64 home loss to Kansas over the weekend, which was its fourth straight defeat as it has opened 0-4 in conference play. The Longhorns had the Jayhawks by the balls but let them off the hook in the closing minutes, and it's going to be hard to recover from that loss.

The Longhorns are just 1-7 SU in road games this season, including 0-4 in true road games. Texas is 0-6 ATS when playing its 2nd game in 3 days over the last 2 seasons. Oklahoma is 6-0 ATS in home games after covering 2 of its last 3 against the spread over the last 2 seasons. The Sooners are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 home games overall. Bet Oklahoma Monday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Jim Feist

Timberwolves at Hawks
Pick: Over

The T'Wolves snapped a five game losing streak with a win on Saturday at home over Houston, 92-79. Now today this face a Atlanta club that has won just two of its last 10 games. The Hawks have been a decent bet OVER at home, going 9-4 Over/Under at home over their last 13 games. Moreover, against the Northwest division, the Over is 6-2 the last eight games for the Hawks. For the T'Wolves, they come off a win and when they come off a win, the over is 8-3 the last 11 times. With Wall back and the the Hawks totals going over at home, I like the OVER here on Monday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Dave Cokin

Oklahoma State at Baylor
Pick: Baylor

If Oklahoma State and Baylor were meeting in a neutral setting, I’d probably be looking at a possible play on the talented Cowboys. But the game is in Waco and that’s bad news for the Cowboys. Simply stated, this is a very bad conference road team. I like breaking down the personnel and other variables, but in the case of Oklahoma State there really isn’t a whole lot to say. The Cowboys are absolutely brutal on the road, and this is a long term malady and Travis Ford has clearly not yet located that much needed antidote. Until such time as the issue gets solved, I’m going to continue to fade this outfit in Big 12 road games. Baylor really hasn’t impressed me all that much, and they can play with a startlingly low hoop IQ at times. But the home cookin’ is the key here, and my side is Baylor minus the points.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

SPORTS WAGERS

Minnesota +8 over ATLANTA

The Timberwolves had the unlikeliest of wins on Saturday night. In the midst of a five-game losing streak and battling a devastating injury list that looks more like an infirmary roster, Minnesota signed Chris Johnson and Mickael Gelabale to 10-day contracts. The pair went off for 23 of the 29 points that Minnesota scored in the fourth quarter and on the other end, Johnson defended the rim and got six boards while Gelabale helped hold Rockets star James Harden to 18 points on 5-for-18 shooting. A win like that is just the sort of thing that raises the level of everyone else. Minnesota is still banged up but they play hard every night, they still have plenty of talent on the floor and the Hawks are a team in a funk.

Atlanta has dropped eight of 10 and there is dissension among the ranks. An undisclosed incident last week led Larry Drew to kick Josh Smith out of practice and subsequently suspend him for one game. Atlanta also had the second worst half in NBA history against Chicago when they scored 20 points in the entire half and 58 for the game. With four losses in five games and the wheels coming off, this is not the team you want to be spotting significant points with at the moment. 


MEMPHIS -6 over Indiana

The Pacers have turned a corner since a slow start with a 25-16 record and six wins in their past eight games. However, five of those wins came at home with the only road win over that span occurring against the Bobcats, a team that hasn't won at home since Thanksgiving. Indiana is 16-3 at home but just 9-13 on the road. The Pacers other road games recently include two, 11-point losses in Orlando and Brooklyn and a 19-point loss in Boston. They'll now face one of the toughest teams in the NBA that has won 15 of 20 home games.

Playing their third game in four days on Saturday, the Grizzlies are coming off an OT win in Chicago. That was their second win in a row after three consecutive 20-point losses. Memphis has played just four home games since December 26. Rested and playing the first game of a four-game home stand, expect this superior team to start winning frequently again and to put away average traveling squads like Indiana.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

SPORTS WAGERS

Tampa Bay -110 over NY ISLANDERS

OT included. If you tuned into the games on Saturday night and did some NHL channel surfing, you would have noticed or felt the electricity in all the buildings except one. Nassau Coliseum was like a morgue. There was no atmosphere for the Islanders to feed off and they played like it. That was the opener and you can expect even less of a buzz for this 1:00 PM EST start here. The Islanders are moving to Brooklyn next season and fan support is just not there. Additionally, the Islanders created few scoring chances, allowed many and unless a dramatic turnaround happens here, they will be 0-2 to start the season.

By contrast, the Lightning skated circles around the Capitals. They were sharper as the game progressed and were able to easily overcome some early penalty trouble that saw them spend six of the first 10 minutes in the box. When they settled down, it was over. Tampa is amped up for the season and with a game under its belt, Anders Lindback giving them some stability in net and with mega talent throughout, they should have little trouble disposing of this inferior host. Cheap price has our attention.


Anaheim -106 over CALGARY

OT included. The Flames were able to hold off the Sharks for almost two periods last night before the wheels came off in a 4-1 loss. That score was actually flattering to Calgary, as they were clearly outplayed from the get-go and ultimately paid the price. Things don't get any easier here for this slow and unprepared host. The Flames had just four players overseas during the lockout and none of them were the top guys. This is a team in peril that may lose more than any other.

As mentioned prior to the Ducks whacking the Canucks, they are going to be undervalued early on. That seven goal outburst in Vancouver hasn't influenced the line that much yet and once again we can take advantage. The Ducks look to be a force this season. They had seven players overseas during the lockout including four big names and they prep work will pay off. They're loaded offensively (the third line of Daniel Winnik, Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano played great), they're better defensively, they're strong in net and they looked as sharp as any team in the first weekend. Best of all, they're a steal spotting less than a dime against this “Dead Team Skating”.


Buffalo +103 over TORONTO

OT included. Get on this one early before the line moves. The Sabres are one the most improved teams in the NHL. They came out on fire in their opener, something we rarely saw last year and they maintained it throughout the game, en route to a 5-2 win over Philadelphia. Buffalo throws out three gritty and talented lines and even the fourth line of Patrick Kaleta, Matt Ellis and John Scott is no picnic to play against.The Sabres will be a factor this season while the Maple Leafs will not.

The best thing about this game is that Toronto won its opener on the road and it has created a false favorite here. It was a nice win over Montreal but it came against one of the weaker teams in the league. Once again the Leafs defense is shaky, the goaltending is still a question mark and their secondary lines are not on par with others. Toronto has to clean up the mess (again) left by its last GM and coach and it's going to take some time. The win over the Habs was fool's gold, as Toronto is outclassed here by a wide margin.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

JR O'Donnell

Boston -1.5 +165

Grab the spotlight on MLK DAY  as the J Oster is off to 4-2 NHL young season start so far.... 4-2 67% and off a 2-0 sweep Sunday on the Chi Black Hawks/Minny Wild...   Our early tip 1 pm power play will be on these Bruins - 1.5 pucks +165.... Td Garden will be rocking... Claude Julien is well respected by his crew and these Winny Jets  will get rolled early and often by the Killer B's..... Nathan Horton is a beast & we are big fans of Krejci... Lay the 1.5 + 165  as the B's kick it up & light the lamp early & often today............ Home team is 10-1 in the last 11 meetings. Jets are 3-14-1 in the last 18 meetings in Boston.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Bryan Power

Houston vs. Charlotte
Pick: Over

These are the two worst defensive teams in the league meeting this afternoon in Charlotte. Houston is allowing 103.5 points per game. Charlotte is neck and neck with them giving up 103.3 PPG.  Compounding problems for the Bobcats here at home is that Houston is one of the highest scoring teams in the league at 104.5 PPG.  This one has all the makings of a high scoring affair.

The Rockets are off probably their lowest scoring game of the season, a 92-79 loss to Minnesota. It was their worst shooting performance of the year at 32.9%. Therefore, I'm expecting a bounce back here. No team's games average more points per contest that Houston's, who average 208 points per game. Since we flipped the calendar to 2013, there have only been three instances of the Rockets failing to score 100 points.

Charlotte can't match Houston's offensive production, but that's no matter here as I expect the home team to give up plenty of points. Note the Bobcats are 6-1 Over this season when off a loss by 6 points or less this season. In their last game, Charlotte gave up only 97 points. It was the first time in four games they didnt give up at least 100.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Steve Janus

New York Knicks -4

The Knicks are showing some solid value as a small home favorite against the Nets this afternoon. New York has won two of three against Brooklyn this season, including a 100-86 win at home in the most recent meeting. With just two games separating these two teams in the Atlantic Division, New York is going to be extremely motivated to get a win here. The only reason this isn't a premium play, is due to some concern with this being the first for New York since going overseas to face the Raptors in London last Thursday. Either way the Knicks are worth a small play on Monday.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

John Martin

Timberwolves/Hawks Under 185.5

Both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Atlanta Hawks are going through some injury problems right now that will make points difficult to come by tonight. Minnesota has a ton of injuries, but its main ones are to its two leading scorers in Kevin Love (18.6 PPG) and Nikola Pekovic (16.0 PPG), who both remain out. The Timberwolves are coming off a 92-79 home victory over the Houston Rockets, and they are going to have to continue to slow down the pace if they want to be competitive without Love and Pekovic. Atlanta just recently lost third-leading scorer Lou Williams (14.1 PPG) for the season. The Hawks are averaging a mere 86.4 points/game in their last 5 games, while the T'Wolves are putting up 89.4 points/game in their last 5. The UNDER is 6-0 in Timberwolves last 6 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Brad Diamond

San Antonio Spurs vs. Philadelphia 76ers    
Play: Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia (17-23) welcomes the Spurs (32-11) on MLK day for a non-conference battle at the Wells Fargo Center. The Spurs show in 1st place in the Western Conference Southwest Division four games ahead of Memphis winning their last four SU. Philadelphia is off an OT win over Toronto the other night, holding 4th place in the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. Philly will try to win back-to-back games for the first time November when they won 3 straight. The good news Jason Richardson may contribute this evening after his knee was drained the other day. Plus, guard Jrue Holiday has been averaging almost 31 points per game in his last three starts. We all know the Spurs are a disciplined machine bringing a functional approach to offense and defense as indicated by their sensational record. However, the Sixers have the clear emotional edge after being frustrated in the series losing three straight by an average of 17 points per game. Take the points w/Philadelphia.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Jeff Scott Sports

3 UNIT PLAY

Georgia State +6 over TOWSON STATE: Just think this is too many points here. Sure Georgia State has struggle with an 8-11 mark and Towson is sitting at 10-9 overall, but the Panthers have not been all that bad as I will show you.  Georgia State actually comes in off a couple of blowout wins, but let's look at some of their losses of late. At the beginning of the year the Panthers played Duke and BYU on the road and both were bad losses, but that was expected. Since then they have played a road schedule more compatible to their own talent level and while they are 2-4 in those games, not one of the 4 lasses were by more than 5 points. In fact just 1 of their last 7 losses overall have been by more than 5 points. For Towson State we note that they are just 2-3 at home, with 4 of their last 6 wins overall being by 5 points or less. Towson needed OT on this floor to beat William & Mary, while the Panther crushed them by 21 points at home. I feel the Panthers are starting to come around and with the way they have played on the road of late, I fully expect this game to go down to the wire.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Jeff Benton

Monday's freebie is the underdog Texas Longhorns plus the points at Oklahoma.

Texas is just 8-9 on the season, and they have lost their last four games as they head to Norman in desperate search of a victory. The Longhorns battled hard over the weekend in a home loss to Kansas, but the Horns did pick up the underdog cover catching the +8 points in that contest.

Look for Texas to be close again tonight, as Oklahoma may be 12-4, but the Sooners do come back home off a Saturday loss at Kansas State, and OU has really struggled in this rivalry with Texas.

The Longhorns have been the outright winner in each of the last six series meetings, and while that streak is in definite jeopardy tonight, I do not see Oklahoma being able to pull away from Texas in this conference showdown.

Take the points as Texas stays inside of this number.

2* TEXAS

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Frank Jordan

Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Hornets
Play: New Orleans Hornets   

Sacramento is 5-5 in their last 10 games, but that puts them at only 16-25 on the year as they head to New Orleans. the road has not been kind to the Kings this year with 19 road games played and only four wins. New Orleans has gone 6-4 in their last 10 games but that only puts them at 13-27 on the season. Look for the Hornets to protect their hive and dethrone the Kings as they win on this holiday. Play New Orleans

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Bruce Marshall

L.A. Lakers vs. Chicago
Pick: Chicago

Nothing is coming easy for the Lakers, now 5-14 straight up on the road after their latest disappointment on Sunday at Toronto.  And now even Kobe Bryant might be feeling the strain, missing 22 of 32 shots at Air Canada Centre and just 18 of 57 from the floor in his last two games. With return of Derrick Rose still down the road, this matchup isn’t quite as appealing as the folks at TNT might have originally wished.  And Rose’s absence has a lot to do with Bulls dropping 14 of their first 18 vs. spread as United Center chalk this season.  But at likely reduced price vs. overvalued Lakers, some of those pointspread shortcomings are less likely to surface for Chicago in this spot.  And, for what it’s worth, Lake Show was only 2-7 as road dog before embarking upon road trip which began yesterday in Toronto.  Tom Thibodeau’s defensive concepts for Chicago remain very sound, and the return of Pau Gasol to active duty after recent concussion doesn’t suggest any panacea for Lake Show, which was having trouble fitting the big Catalan into Mike D’Antoni’s new offensive schemes.  And Thibodeau hoping Carlos Boozer’s recent 36-point explosion on Jan. 16 at Toronto suggests a continued upturn in his production.

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Re: Free Picks: Service Plays for Monday January, 21

Jesse Schule

L.A. Lakers vs. Chicago
Pick: Chicago

Still an AMAZING 11-1 with complimentary hoops plays in 2013, I will test that run with another free play on Chicago tonight! After winning three in a row, and back to back road games, the Bulls lost at home to Memphis on Saturday, 85-82 in overtime. Chicago is still just .500 at the United Center this year, with a better record on the road than at home.

The Bulls will host the Lakers Monday night, and L.A. is coming off a loss north of the border yesterday, falling to Toronto by a score of 108-103. Kobe Bryant's struggles continued, as he hit just 10-of-32 from the field for 26 points. Kobe is shooting just 31.6 percent over the Lakers last two losses to Toronto and Miami. The 34 year old Kobe commented on his poor play: "I've just got to rest my legs," said Bryant. "My legs are a little tired. My shots are just short."

With Kobe admitting he has tired legs, and the Lakers struggling mightily offensively, playing their second game in as many days, the Lakers aren't in a good spot here in Chicago. The Bulls own one of the NBA's stingiest defenses, allowing an average of just 91.7 points per game.

The Bulls have won their last two meetings with the Lakers, and they are in a good spot to extend that streak here at home tonight.

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